Monday, 22 May 2023

Two outstanding concerts for the price of one: Abel Selaocoe and the BBC Singers

Abel Selaocoe
Abel Selaocoe
(cello, voice)
Sofi Jeannin (conductor)

7.30pm, Friday 19 May 2023
Milton Court Concert Hall, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943): All-Night Vigil, Op. 37 (Vespers)

Trad./Abel Selaocoe (b.1992): Music of African twilight

'A perfect platform for the BBC Singers to demonstrate their unquestionable professional expertise and choral virtuosity'.

'Right from the flowing tempo set by Jeannin in Priidite, poklonimsya, and the smooth blend of voices, equally nimble at the climax, this was a commanding performance'. 

'This was one occasion where the transition back into Rachmaninov worked well, with the glorious rising tenor line of Voskres iz groba picking up beautifully from where Selaocoe’s moving elegy had left us'. 

'His energy was infectious, and the variety of vocal tones produced was astonishing, from low growls and overtones to floating high lines'. 

'Selaocoe gave us a lively round of call-and-response, including the audience, before calming things down with some incredibly quiet singing over soft choral harmonies from the singers, dying away to nothing'.

Read my full review on Bachtrack here.

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Robert Carsen's Royal Opera Aida shines a spotlight on the modern military state

Angel Blue (Aida)
© ROH/Tristram Kenton
Sir Mark Elder
Robert Carsen (Director)
Oliver Platt (Associate Director)
Miriam Buether (Set Designer)
Annemarie Woods (Costume Designer)
Robert Carsen & Peter van Praet (Lighting Designers)
Rebecca Howell (Choreographer)
Duncan McLean (Video Designer)

Sergey Levitin (Concert Master)
William Spaulding (Chorus Director)

SeokJong Baek (Ramadès)
Elīna Garanča (Amneris)
Ludovic Tézier (Amonasro)
James Platt (King of Egypt)
Andrés Presno (Messenger)
Francesca Chiejina (High Priestess)

Friday 5 May 2023

Soloman Howard (Ramfis) & Elīna Garanča (Amneris)
© ROH/Tristram Kenton
SeokJong Baek’s tenor blossomed and as his Radamès developed, as too did his interactions with Aida and Amneris'. 

'Angel Blue’s rich power was impressive throughout, cutting through even the thickest of orchestral textures without any hint of strain, as well as impressively controlling pianissimo moments at the top of her range'.

'But it was surely Elīna Garanča who stole the show as Amneris, progressing convincingly from steely pantomime baddy to unravelled torment by the end'. 

'The Royal Opera Chorus was on fine form, with some stunningly quiet singing from the lower voices, and great power when massed at full throttle'. 

Angel Blue (Aida) & Elīna Garanča (Amneris)
© ROH/Tristram Kenton
'Sir Mark Elder ... exploited Verdi’s rich score to the full, with subtlety from the woodwinds and some surprisingly quiet brass work, as well as showing us the orchestra’s full power and might'. 

Read my full review on Bachtrack here.

Aida, Act 2 Finale
© ROH/Tristram Kenton

Sunday, 30 April 2023

CD Reviews - April 2023

Pianist Sarah Cahill has reached the third and final volume of her series, ‘The Future is Female’. This volume is called ‘At Play’, and as with previous volumes, the very broad repertoire is set out in chronological order. The earliest work here is the Piano Sonata No. 9, Op. 5 No. 3 (1811) from Hélène de Montgeroult (1764-1836), but then following a short but delightfully virtuosic Thème varié, Op. 98, full of drama and stylistic variety, from Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944) composed in 1895, we’re straight into the mid-20th century and beyond. Going back to the Montgeroult, she was new to me when I reviewed Clare Hammond’s great disc of her Études in November last year, and this Sonata is full of the same richness of invention and subversion of convention. There is playful constant flow in the first movement, yet Montgeroult delivers a strangely unexpected end to the development section, and similarly, the lyrically meandering slow movement takes unexpected melodic turns to surprise the ear. Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, but remained in Warsaw during World War II, composing and organising secret concerts. Her Scherzo is playful and full of dancing, cascading scales, set against a neoclassical lumbering circus procession. From the late 20th century come two works, firstly Chinese composer Chen Yi (b.1953), who emigrated to the US in 1986. Her Guessing from 1989 employs an impressive array of techniques, with thundering crashes, challenging rhythms, dark chords and clusters, and slow octave melodies, all coherently shaped here with playful energy from Cahill. Next to Azerbaijan, and Franghiz Ali-Zadeh’s (b.1947) Music for Piano, with its mysterious modal melody and metallic rattling, produced by a glass-bead necklace stretched across the piano strings, evoking the sound of the tar, a traditional stringed instrument. The effect is fascinating, and she also uses the very low registers, beyond the glass beads, to provide ominous, even threatening contrast. Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016) wrote Quintuplets Play Pen: Homage to Ruth Crawford for Cahill in 2001, and its mathematically constructed matrix combining a slow moving bass line with a skipping melodic line and almost chanting middle voice move from being childlike in simplicity to becoming increasingly complex. Hannah Kendall’s (b.1984) three movement On the Chequer’d Field Array’d evokes the three stages of a chess game, from the insistent motion of the initial striding out of pieces, through battling clashes and then more rhapsodic exploration of the extremes of the keyboard, to final subdued acceptance in the outcome. Cahill again brings a sense of coherence and atmosphere to both Oliveros and Kendall’s seemingly cerebral yet highly individual compositions. Iranian composer Aida Shirazi’s (b.1987) Albumblatt uses glassy string scrapes and ethereal harmonics created by touching the strings at the same time as depressing the keys. The resulting effects are captivating, with low rumbling strings and insistent rocking between notes and chords evoking storm clouds and turbulence – the work’s subtitle is A Winter Memory. Cahill closes with a warm, jazz-infused set of Piano Poems by Chicago-based composer Regina Harris Baiocchi (b.1956). From folksy simplicity in the opening ‘common things surprise us’ to off-kilter rhythms in ‘cockleburs in wooly hair’ and turbulence, even anger in ‘beatitudes’, the set ends with relaxed flickering and singing lines in ‘a candle burns time’. As with the previous volumes, Cahill impresses with her range of performances here, as well as in her choice of fascinating repertoire. The only disappointment is that this is the last of this three-volume project – a follow-up is definitely needed!

Various. 2023. The Future is Female. Vol. 3 At Play. Sarah Cahill. Compact Disc. First Hand Records. FHR133.


Violinist Lisa Archontidi-Tsaldaraki is joined by pianist Panayotis Archontides (one half of the Ivory Duo Piano Ensemble) for Rhapsody, their selection of 20
th Century violin masterpieces. Ravel’s popular Tzigane, Karol Szymanoski’s (1882-1937) Nocturne and Tarantella, Op. 28, and Britten’s early Suite, Op. 6 form the latter half of the disc. But it is the two works that come first that are the most revelatory here, both by Greek composers most likely lesser known to most in the UK. Yannis Constantinidis (1903-1984) left his homeland in 1922 and ending up in Berlin, but returned to Greece for good in 1931. He was a composer, pianist and conductor, and also composed in popular genres (film music, musical theatre, etc.) under the alias of Kostas Giannidis. In his Petite Suite sur des airs populaires grecs du Dodécanèse there is immediately a sense of longing and sweet nostalgia in the opening Air de Karpathos, and Archontidi-Tsaldaraki brings a rich tone to this cry for lost love. There are dancing, perky rhythms in the Chant Pastoral de Kalymnos, and a darker mood surrounds a contrasting faster central section in the Chant et Danse de Rhodes. The Danse de Leros has a light swing, then heartfelt longing returns in the Air d’Archangelos, with rich lower string work and sweet singing from Archontidi-Tsaldaraki. The final Chant Nuptial et Danse is gentle and lilting to begin with, but progresses into a wild dance with virtuosic double-stopping and high harmonics echoing the melody. Manolis Kalomiris (1883-1962) trained in Vienna, where Wagner was a key influence, then taught piano in Ukraine, where he discovered Russian nationalism, and on his return to Athens, he set out to establish an equivalent Greek National School of Music. His Sonata for Violin and Piano is a substantial work, with cyclical use of material throughout its three movements. The 5/8 metre opening movement is full of uneasy, agitated motion and pulsing rhythms, with surging waves from the piano, and sliding chromatic harmonies drive to an emphatic conclusion. The second movement’s 7/8 metre means that its lyrical melodies quickly take on a more playful nature, and despite its darker diminished intervals it has lively energy throughout, with gossamer high notes from the violin to finish. The Vivo finale relentlessly twists and turns, with galloping rhythms, and apart from a sweet lyrical episode from the violin over gentle piano arpeggios, the movement drives to the finish line. Archontidi-Tsaldaraki and Archontides give a strong performance here of this weighty yet richly inventive Sonata. Britten’s Suite provides a great contrast to both of these richly textured works. Immediately Archontidi-Tsaldaraki establishes this with the dramatic, angular and sustained solo violin opening. A pecking, lumbering March follows with challenging harmonics sounding almost like a breathy flute over the dancing piano part. The instruments take it in turns in the Moto Perpetuo third movement, with rapid motion over low, quiet piano pecks, and then pizzicato from the violin as the piano takes over. The Lullaby in contrast has slow sustained lines for the violin, searing at the climax, making tuning hard to centre in places, although Archontidi-Tsaldaraki maintains this well. Some delightfully watery playing from Archontides over the droning violin double-stops takes the movement towards its eery conclusion. Prokofiev’s influence is most evident in the stomping Waltz that ends the work, with drunken, spiky spiccato and surging double-stops, which could perhaps take a little more abandon, although Archontidi-Tsaldaraki delivers this virtuosic finale with confidence. She also shines in the dramatic, cadenza-like opening of the Ravel, with expressive hints of the rhythms to come, and the swirling wild race to the finish is impressive. Szymanowski’s Nocturne is suitably mysterious and dark, and the Tarantella’s crashing wild opening is followed by a virtuosic display full of drive and energy to finish. A strong debut disc from Archontidi-Tsaldaraki, encouraging more exploration of Constantinidis and Kalomiris.  

Friday, 31 March 2023

CD Reviews - March 2023

Jonathan Dove (b.1959) has composed many operas, as well as orchestral, chamber and film music, but I am personally most familiar with his choral works, ever since singing in performances of his oratorio, There Was a Child, with Brighton Festival Chorus and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simon Halsey, back in 2011’s Brighton Festival. A few of the BFC tenors were then invited to join the CBSO and the CBSO Chorus for a performance of the work in June of that year, at Symphony Hall in Birmingham. That concert was recorded, and it was great to have the opportunity to really get inside this striking work for soprano & tenor soloists, adult & children’s choruses and orchestra. I remember then being particularly impressed with Dove’s effortless choral writing, presenting singers with rhythmic and harmonic challenges, but always within very ‘singable’ music – understanding choral singing is still surprisingly rare among composers. And so it was a great pleasure to explore a new disc of Dove’s settings of texts by the Greek poet Sappho (c.630-c.570 BC), commissioned by the Cambridge based choir, the Fairhaven Singers, conducted by Ralph Woodward. Sappho Sings consists of six settings of fragments of verse, and are scored for the choir and orchestra, and the Fairhaven Singers are joined here by the London Mozart Players. There is great contrast here, with pastoral flutes and perpetual motion underpinning long vocal lines and falling cascades in the opening ‘From Heaven to here’, to driving string energy, vocal jabs and repetitive rhythms reminiscent of John Adams in ‘You burn me’. Dramatic timpani and brass, and racing strings create a stormy background for ‘Love shook my heart’. Then the upper voices are given richer textures from the strings and horns to underpin their tender rendition ‘Of Love’, with its sensual climax left hanging. In contrast, the lower voices have boisterous rhythmic energy in the
racier ‘Night’. The set then concludes with more long sustained vocal lines, and building, layered choral textures, in ‘Stars around the radiant moon’. There is some lovely word painting here, with falling vocal clusters on ‘stars’, a build to radiant high chords on ‘She’ and ‘silver’, and shimmering high strings left in the air at the very end. These are very effective pieces, with ample variety of textures and vocal styles in a relatively short set (around 19 minutes). The Fairhaven Singers give strong performances here, managing well the challenges of the sustained lines and tricky clustered harmonies, and there were only a couple of points at which the orchestral textures were in danger of overwhelming them in the balance. They sustain the long lines well, and give energy and drive to the more rhythmic passages. These pieces certainly deserve to be picked up by other choirs, adding to Dove’s growing catalogue of strong choral repertoire.

Dove, J. 2022. Sappho Sings. Fairhaven Singers, London Mozart Players, Ralph Woodward. Compact Disc. Convivium Records CR076.

Dove, J. 2012. There was a Child. Joan Rodgers, Toby Spence, CBSO Chorus, CBSO Youth Chorus, CBSO Children's Chorus, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Simon Halsey. Compact Disc. Signum Classics SIGCD285.


American composer George Crumb (1929-2022) passed away last year, and shortly before his death, recordings from a concert of his works given in Holland in 1978 had just been rediscovered. Ensemble Dreamtiger (Kathryn Lukas (flute), Alexander Balanescu (violin), Rohan de Saram (cello), Douglas Young (piano) and James Wood (percussion)) were formed in 1973 and were dedicated to performance of new and old music from around the world, although American music featured prominently, including the music of George Crumb, and in that concert in 1978, they performed three of his works. The ensemble gave their last concert in 1989, but they have offered up these remastered recordings in tribute to Crumb. First of all is a remarkable piece, Dream Sequence (Images II), for violin, cello, piano, percussion and off-stage glass harmonica. There are four groupings here – four tuned wine glasses, percussion, piano and strings. The groups play independently of each other, so every performance will be different – a recording can therefore only be one option for performance. The ringing from the glasses goes on pretty much throughout the seventeen minutes, creating a slightly disturbing tinnitus-like effect after a while, with glassy string shimmers and insect-like slides, squeeks and birdlike pecking. Shaking bells and bowed crotales add further effects, and the cumulative effect, once you get used to the constant ringing, is definitely dream-like, with thoughts flitting in and out of consciousness. The sudden crashing piano interruption towards the end is certainly a wake-up call, before the piece ends on a single glassy note and then disappears. The three movement Sonata for Solo Cello that follows provides a welcome contrast, and is the earliest work here, from 1955. Cellist Rohan de Saram delivers the opening movements guitar-like pizzicato followed by its dramatic exposition with passionate expression, and the central movement’s set of variations on a gently swinging siciliana combines improvisatory expression with racing pizzicato and singing harmonics. After a slow introduction, the finale races off in a moto-perpetuo gallop, with only occasional halts in its insistent rhythm. The disc then ends with Vox Balaenae (‘Voice of the Whale’), an eight section work for flute, cello and piano, progressing from the beginning of time, through successive geological eras, to the very end of time. The flute opens with fluttering and singing into the instrument, evoking Andean pipe music, before the piano crashes in and then delivers Jaws-like scrapings on the strings. There is extensive use of harmonics from the cello, as well as some falling, whistling firework effects. In the later sections, the piano is used to imitate the gamelan, and high crotales introduce the final section. Like Dream Sequence, this is a haunting piece that captivates once you settle into its world, and the expressive cello and flute duet and slightly more secure harmonies that follow in the final section give some sense of resolution. This is a fascinating window on Crumb’s music, and this disc is an important record of Ensemble Dreamtiger’s relationship with the composer and performances of his work. 

Crumb, G. 2022. Dream Sequence, Cello Sonata, Vox Balaenae. Ensemble Dreamtiger, Rohan de Saram. Compact Disc. First Hand Records FHR130.

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and the Manchester Camerata, conducted by Gábor Takács-Nagy, have reached Volume 7 of their project to record all of Mozart’s Piano Concertos. And their project is special for other reasons. Firstly, their ‘Mozart, made in Manchester’ project centres on the acoustically acclaimed Stoller Hall at Chetham’s School of Music, and they have also involved string students from the school in the project. The recordings also pair the concertos with some of Mozart’s opera overtures, so on this latest disc, two late concertos are joined by the Overture to Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). As with previous volumes, the matching of Bavouzet’s energetic precision and fresh articulation with Takács-Nagy and the Camerata’s nimble playing makes for recordings that positively fizz. The woodwind of the Camerata stand out particularly in the chamber, serenade-like passages, such as in the slow movement of the Piano Concerto No. 24, K491. There is an alertness in the players’ responses, so that the relationship with the pianist feels so much more conversational. In the opening movement of No. 24, Bavouzet’s playing has bite in the articulation, with the timpani, the perky horns and the fresh woodwind solo passages responding in kind. Yet there is real grace in Bavouzet’s slow movement here, beautifully paired with the chamber, pure-toned woodwind serenade. And then all concerned have a great play with the seemingly four-square, almost martial finale, always giving shape and nuance to Mozart’s simple theme, and the strings in particular get to play with the pianist here. The strings are also particularly sprightly in the opening of the Piano Concerto No. 25, K503. Bavouzet makes the rapid passagework flow beautifully, and the play on the Marsellaise in Broberg’s cadenza is a joy. Again, his grace is gloriously matched with the woodwind in the slow movement, which has a very laid back, relaxed feel, before the slightly spiky strings set off the finale with driving energy, setting things up for the racing piano entry, and here Bavouzet takes full advantage of Mozart’s playing with the sense of the downbeat. These are lively and illuminating performances, with a freshness and real sense of joy in Mozart’s glorious invention. The disc begins with a positively fizzing Overture to Le nozze di Figaro, with great dynamic contrasts from the quiet opening to the explosion that follows, and the precise articulation throughout from the players, without ever sounding laboured, is highly impressive.  

Mozart, W. A. 2023. Mozart: Piano Concertos, Volume 7. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Manchester Camerata, Gábor Takács-Nagy. Compact Disc. Chandos CHAN 20192.


Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Positive energy and spirit bring the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra's season to a close

Joanna MacGregor (piano/director)
Ruth Rogers (violin)
Peter Adams (cello)

2.45pm, Sunday 26 March 2023

Samuel Barber (1910-1981): Adagio for Strings

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): 
Triple Concerto in C major, Op. 56
Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73, 'Emperor'

The Brighton Philharmonic, under their Music Director Joanna MacGregor, brought their season to a highly successful close before an almost full house at the Brighton Dome. Their performances, full of energy and spirit, were warmly received, and it was great to see the Dome so full on a Sunday afternoon. It would appear that, having recently managed to sell out on a Saturday night, they are managing to add some newly acquired audience members to the faithful regulars in their traditional slot, and long may this continue. 

The repertoire was perhaps less adventurous than in their Glass/Rautavaara Saturday night programme (my review here), although including not one but two Beethoven Concerti was a brave choice. The Triple Concerto (for violin, cello and piano) is less performed than the Piano Concerto No. 5, ‘Emperor’, however, and was more likely to be new to listeners. It is a challenging work, not least in terms of achieving the right balance between the three solo instruments, and with the orchestra. The two string soloists were Ruth Rogers on violin, completing her first season as BPO Leader, Peter Adams on cello, Prinicipal Cello with the BPO for many years now, and Joanna MacGregor directed proceedings from the piano. She also directed the Piano Concerto from the keyboard. This is certainly doable, but a brave choice – the benefits were certainly a greater level of engagement and energy with her fellow soloists and with the orchestra, but it is a tall order to maintain focus on the solo role whilst quickly shifting into conducting mode, and occasionally the joins were visible. In both concerti, the leaders (Co-leader Nicky Sweeney in the Triple, Ruth Rogers in the Emperor) took on some conducting too whilst MacGregor was otherwise engaged in solo passages – again, this led to a few untidy joins as the baton was figuratively passed to and fro.


But they began with a more reflective opener for strings alone – Barber’s Adagio for Strings, directed by the concert’s first-half leader Nicky Sweeney. Chosen as a contemplative reflection on the BPO’s journey, post-Covid, ‘Towards the Light’, it certainly provided a contrast to the lively, more triumphant Beethoven works that followed. Sweeney directed with a steady, even tempo, certainly not on the slow side, and they opened with some beautifully pianissimo playing. It is a difficult piece to coordinate, as the phrases are long and entries by one instrument at a time need to be precise, so a solid tempo helped here. As the piece developed and became more expressive, it was harder to maintain quite such a regular tempo, and occasionally entries became a little less tight, particularly as they built towards the searing climax. The string blend took a while to settle in, with the violas faring better than the violins initially. But altogether, they gave an atmospheric reading, leading up well to the explosions of energy to follow that the Beethoven would deliver.


Ruth Rogers, Peter Adams, Joanna MacGregor
and the BPO
© Nick Boston
In the Triple Concerto, Peter Adams managed well the challenges of the cello part, the most virtuosic of the three solo parts. In order to ensure the cello cuts through the balance, Beethoven writes a lot in the instrument’s highest registers, and apart from perhaps at the join between the second and third movements, Adams was secure, and the warmth of his tone was a delight in the more lyrical moments, particularly in the slow movement. Rogers matched Adams well in response, with a singing tone, and injecting much-needed additional energy into the Rondo, which otherwise occasionally lost momentum. MacGregor did a great job of keeping the orchestra at bay to allow the soloists to come through, and delivered energy as well as warmth in the piano part. The woodwind players from the BPO were particularly nimble in the finale, and the orchestral martial cadences in the first movement had a lively bite.

The orchestra delivered some of their finest playing of the afternoon in the 'Emperor' Concerto, with tight orchestral ensemble in the opening movement, and again lithe woodwind playing, especially from the bassoons. The strings produced their warmest sound in the slow movement, definitely the highlight of the performance, with some beautifully quiet yet fluid playing from MacGregor too. Despite some inaccuracies, the finale had spirit, and brought the afternoon to a rousing finish. 

All in all, this was a joyfully positive afternoon of music making, and a sign of great things to come, as the BPO under Joanna MacGregor’s direction build towards their centenary in 2025.

Monday, 27 March 2023

BREMF@Easter - Two Concerts from Brighton Early Music Festival to welcome the Spring


Brighton Early Music Festival is offering two concerts to welcome the Spring. First up is the BREMF Consort of Voices, conducted by Deborah Roberts, with a Double 'Bill' programme celebrating music by William Byrd and William Cornysh. (7pm, Saturday 1 April, St Martin's Church, Lewes Rd, Brighton BN2 3HQ). 
You can listen to their performance of Byrd's Ne Irascaris Domine from the European Day of Early Music in 2019 here:

Then Fair Oriana perform a programme of contemplative music for Holy Week from around Europe, including the beautiful Leçons de Ténèbres by Couperin. Fair Oriana are sopranos Angela Hicks & Penelope Appleyard, with Harry Buckoke (viola da gamba), Jonatan Bougt (theorbo) and David Wright (organ), and they are joined in the concert by the Celestial Sirens. (7.30pm, Friday 7 April, St Martin's Church, Lewes Rd, Brighton).

Here you can listen to Fair Oriana performing Handel's Eternal Source of Light Divine from their debut album Two Voices:

Tickets for both concerts available from BREMF here.

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Singing vocal lines plus phenomenal power in Lugansky's Rachmaninov

7.30pm, Monday 20 March, 2023

Wigmore Hall, London

Sergey Rachmaninov (1873-1943):

            10 Preludes, Op. 23

                        Prelude in F sharp minor

                        Prelude in B flat

                        Prelude in D minor

                        Prelude in D

                        Prelude in G minor

                        Prelude in E flat

                        Prelude in C minor

                        Prelude in A flat

                        Prelude in E flat minor

                        Prelude in G flat

            Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42

            Études-tableaux, Op. 39

                        Étude-tableau in C minor

                        Étude-tableau in A minor

                        Étude-tableau in F sharp minor

                        Étude-tableau in B minor

                        Étude-tableau in E flat minor

                        Étude-tableau in A minor

                        Étude-tableau in C minor

                        Étude-tableau in D minor

                        Étude-tableau in D


            Friedrich Kreisler (1875-1962), arr. Rachmaninov:



                        Oriental Sketch

'Lugansky is a cool performer yet never aloof, and his smile in response to enthusiastic applause showed genuine pleasure. That pleasure also shone through in those lyrical melodies'.


'He also offered the full range of Rachmaninov's beloved bells, from an incredibly light touch in the high single notes at the end of that D major Prelude, to the weighty tolls at the end of the A flat Prelude'. 

Corelli Variations:

'Lugansky was mesmerising in the rapid virtuosity, but it was in the Intermezzo's improvisatory melody, and the wandering arabesque of the 15th, with its insistent blue note, that he was at his most captivating'.


'In the Op.39 Études-tableaux, Lugansky showed us even more drive, with phenomenal, almost crazy rapid action at the top of the keyboard in no. 3'.

'It was impossible not to delight in a performer so clearly at home in his repertoire'.

Read my full review on Bachtrack here.